LONDON (Aug. 9)
Britain today stepped up its pressure on the Government of Israel, insisting that Israel order its EI Al Airlines to fly Dr. Robert S. Soblen out of this country and to the United States by the new deadline, Friday midnight.
Britain last night extended the deadline by 48 hours, after the expiration of the previous limit it had placed on its demand that Israel take Dr. Soblen to the U.S.A., where he faces a life sentence for spying on behalf of the Soviet Union.
Israel’s Ambassador Arthur Lourie was called to the Foreign Office today and told by Peter Thomas, Joint Parliamentary Undersecretary, that Britain stands firm on its demand regarding Soblen. At just about the same time, it was reported here, British Ambassador Patrick F. Hancock delivered the same warning to the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
Press reports here today stated that the British Government’s “warning” to Israel was “blunt. ” At the same time leading newspapers, discussing “the Soblen muddle,” criticized the Government and particularly Home Secretary Henry Brooke for the Soblen fiasco. “While three countries (Britain, the U.S.A. and Israel) are quarreling,” stated an editorial in today’s Daily Herald, “there stands in the crossfire the blundering figure of the British Home Secretary. He has angered the Israelis, has frustrated the Americans, and still has Soblen on his hands.”
The Times of London said that Mr. Brooke’s argument of last week, concerning the legalities of the case, “are no longer valid.” “It may turn into a clumsy precedent,” the paper declared. The Guardian of Manchester was just as sharp, stating that “three friendly countries have landed into an absurd and almost insoluble muddle.” “There would be a good case,” stated the Guardian, “for letting Soblen go where he pleases.”